So as I saw this show tonight and was going to write about it, then when I searched the “Tim Ferguson” the first thing was someone being upset about this review. Seeing as this was the only photo from the promo shot of the show on Tumblr I’m going to write it on this link and talk about my experience as a person with MS who saw the show, who isn’t someone who frequently reviews shows (not that this is a “review”), and someone who is pissed off about this review just the same as the other person was here is my 222cents.
Firstly, if you wanted to see DAAS then go and watch the DVD or go see them on the 13th at the Town Hall for $15.
This was a show, by a comedian who has been hiding his MS for years even whilst being in front of everyone. He told a story about how he was presenting at the Logies but his face had gone entirely numb the week before so he could only talk deadpan and he just decided to use deadpan as his funny “thing” which got him signed to channel 9, when the reason he was doing it was because he couldn’t feel his face. That’s not inspiring?
It’s abelist and unfair for a able bodied reviewer to make assumptions that it’s easier for him to have gotten where he is because he wasn’t born with his disability. Do you know what it’s like to never know what part of your body will fail next? This isn’t a call for pity, this is a call for understanding. It’s not a reviewers place to decide which disability is “easier” or more “valid”.
Tim made a point in the show that MS is something that is often invisible. I sat in the crowd and wondered who else had MS. The guy up the front in the wheelchair, yeah probably. The guy sitting next to me? Maybe. The thing about MS is what you see isn’t always just what
you’re they’re getting.
The start of his show was a time line of what was happening in his life, and what was happening in his body. As someone who knows a bit of DAAS and not a lot about other things Tim has done because I was born in ‘86 and for a while was a strict ABC kid, it was interesting and funny. Trying to imagine how it must have felt for him to wake up not being able to feel one side of his body but still playing all his gigs is just ridiculous.
Not being able to feel your body properly is a disgusting feeling. MS things feel different for everyone but I once described it when I couldn’t feel my legs as the same feeling as when you hit the bottom of a tub of old school hair gel and it does that vibrate-y feeling. Gross. Trying to imagine him hiding his symptoms for so long and not even getting a diagnosis himself is mind-blowing.
Tim has the same MS as me, relapsing remitting. It basically means, you get a flair or attack and then you go on some steroids and technically get pretty much “better” when the attack is over. He described MS as your immune system being a mob of Collingwood supporters and them trying to find a virus but attacking everything (myelin) in their path to get the to virus. Which is pretty accurate and amusing.
I did speak to him afterwards, just to say hello and to tell him I know his friends and I have MS and I’ve been meaning to see his show for ages. He was lovely, and god he’s handsome. I wanted to ask him what medication he’s on, and if I could have a really good look at his MRI’s (which he showed in the showed and joked that his lesions were “remnants of cocaine”) and all these other boring medical questions but obviously it wasn’t the place.
It was confronting to me to see someone who has the same disease as me and the same type and who can remember symptoms from the same time as me being so physically disabled. It inspiring (god I hate that word) to see someone who was having seriously fucked up flairs work despite them.
Maybe if he wasn’t in the comedy industry he might not have been able to hide the fact that things weren’t working, that nerves weren’t connecting but as someone who has tried to work while my leg was numb, and knowing it’s not as easy as it sounds, his show was inspiring.
Tim’s show was basically coming out of the disability closet, for lack of a better way of describing it. It wasn’t a memoir of the wild times, it was a memoir of when things were most difficult and an insite into how he managed to do a shit-load of amazing stuff even though his body was being a complete mother-fucker.
I came out of the show wanting to high-five the shit out of him (alas, I only shook his hand) and wishing that he was my MS BFF. At the end of his show he made a joke about how every “sick”/disabled person hears, “How arrrrrrrrrre you? No, but how arrrrrrrrre you?” -insert concerned, pity face here- and how annoying and obnoxious that is.
If you came out of this show and feeling sorry for Tim then you missed the point entirely and you may want to go and get an MRI to make sure you don’t have “cocaine remnants” on your funny bone.
I think the reviewer also has missed the fact that he doesn’t have a plan for what he’s going to do because with MS you don’t know what you’ll be able to do. I can walk right now, but next month I may not be able to. I can see right now but in 6 months I may be blind. With MS you just never know.